1. Never drive to Scottsdale AZ without filling up on gas first. (Gas costs 20-29¢ more per gallon in Scottsdale; there are various theories.)
2. Always park on the street in the direction of traffic. (It’s a $25 ticket in Erie PA though I got off with a courteous warning in Glendale AZ.)
3. For Sunday breakfast at a restaurant, do whatever it takes to arrive before 8:30am. (8am to be safe). Otherwise marauding hordes of zombies willing to sit semi- lifelessly in the waiting area staring at the floor for a half hour to 40 minutes will take over the joint.
4. When watching TV, be prepared for an onslaught of law firm commercials for class action lawsuits against a variety of prescription drugs.
5. When watching TV, be prepared for an onslaught of commercials for prescription drugs with bizarre, scary side effects, usually including possible death and/or vomiting.
6. Pay attention to left turn lanes, especially after 10pm. Paradise Valley AZ charges you more than $200 for failing to make your left turn properly…even from an otherwise deserted roadway with no oncoming traffic.
7. Sometimes it seems like the only difference between corruption in an Arab dictatorship and corruption in US politics is that the dictator gets deposed. The US politician — say, an ex-governor — goes on a speaking tour and collects $100,000 per event. (One Arab elected official said “Sure I gave out the best government-subsidized housing to my sister’s family. What was I supposed to do…give it to a stranger?” See? That’s just being honest. An American official might chirp “Corporations are people too!”)
8. Don’t expect to eat dinner out after 10pm unless you want to be the folks that close the place down.
9. You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant*.
10. If there are four cars or more at a fast-food drive-through, park your car and go inside to order. (Invariably one of the cars will be ordering enough food for a scout troop or frat party and might even be taking orders via cell phone. Actually, that’s exactly what Saudi students do in the line at a McDonalds–pronounced MAKdonalds–but at least they’re inside.)
11. There’s a good chance your favorite bistro from a year ago is closed.
12. There’s no need to pay more than $4 for a bottle of wine at a grocery store. (Wine names now sound like Big Hair rock bands–Double Dog Dare, Cardinal Zin, Little Black Dress, Chateau La Feets.)
13. US stores have about 40 brands and types of toothpaste stocked on the shelf. Pick the absolute cheapest unless it’s formulated from Vegemite or arsenic.
14. If everyone ignored the Kardashians, they might go away.
17. But it was a good thought.